Monday, February 18, 2019

Dhaka University makes U-turn on campus bar for outsiders, blames media

  • Staff Correspondent and Dhaka University Correspondent,
    Published: 2018-07-12 03:40:44 BdST

In a dramatic reversal to its announcement barring unauthorised outsiders on the campus that drew spectacular assaults, the Dhaka University now says it made no such announcement.

It rather blames the media for ‘creating confusion’.

“No restrictions on anyone’s entry and movement on Dhaka University campus were issued,” the university’s public relations office said in a statement on Wednesday following criticism of its earlier diktat. 

“Confusion has been created among the people due to publication of only parts of information on the news media and social media about the Dhaka University Provost Committee’s decision,” the statement claimed.

Two days ago, the public relations office announced the committee’s decision, saying the Provost Committee has forbidden ‘outsiders’ from entering, wandering or engaging in any activity on the university campus without the permission of the administration or the proctor.

The authorities will seek help from law-enforcing agencies on the matter, if necessary, the committee said in the statement on Monday.

The panel made the decision at a meeting on July 5 “in light of the situation on the Dhaka University campus and residential halls in recent times and unexpected incidents during the quota reform protests”, according to Monday’s statement.

The campus had been a hotspot of protests by students and job-seekers who called for the government to reduce the quota system for civil service jobs to 10 percent from 56 percent.

The residence of the university’s vice-chancellor was vandalised during the protests. There was also an overnight disturbance at a residential hall for women over allegations that a student had been tortured.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Apr 11 proposed to abolish the quota system altogether. The announcement prompted the protesters to postpone their demonstrations for some time.

The protests resumed after delays in the gazette notification formalising the abolition of the quotas. The demonstrators were attacked several times by Bangladesh Chhatra League activists during the latest spell of agitation.

Several quarters criticised the Provost Committee decision barring outsiders from entering the campus, which had been the centre of many national movements and a socio-cultural hub.

“The decisions and actions talked about by the Provost Committee were taken in light of the eminent university’s traditional rules,” the university said on Wednesday.

“Prior permission of the university’s related authorities is mandatory for organising any sort of programme, including rallies, on the campus. It’s nothing new. Security guards are on duty at the accesses like they were before.”

The decisions by the Provost Committee were ‘nothing but part of the authorities’ regular efforts to increase skill of the guards’, it added.

Reached for comments on the issue, Vice-Chancellor Md Akhtaruzzaman told there were no restrictions on the movement of outsiders on the campus.

“Entry and demonstrations are two different things. There is no restriction on entry. Many don’t get it. Our university’s image takes a hit because of publications without proper understanding of the fact,” he said.   

The university in the statement urged all “not to encourage the evil forces through publication of misleading information”.